Way back in 1996, the folks at ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) created what would become one of the most pervasive umbrella frameworks for IT management best practices and governance in use today: “Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology” or “COBIT.”
If you weren’t “in the business” in the mid-nineties, non-programmable workstations (aka “dumb terminals”) were still in use, so the exposures inherent to PC connectivity weren’t as great. Most of us were on an AS/400 with menu-based security. Many shops relied heavily on “security by obscurity,” with fancy “Control Objectives” like COBIT the furthest thing from our collective minds. That was all about to change.
The new millennium brought headlines of computer security breaches, as well as corporate and auditing malfeasance. We read about people’s private information being compromised and wondered if our own was included. Major companies were imploding and investors lost billions of dollars. It was just a matter of time before the government (and others) would step in.
Almost overnight, a new lexicon of regulatory initiatives and their acronyms were introduced. GLBA, FISMA, PCI DSS and SOX quickly became part of our vocabulary. In some way, all were intended to ensure privacy and data integrity and most leveraged the framework articulated in COBIT.
Many of the COBIT guidelines rely upon good, old-fashioned common sense. For example, COBIT Guideline DS5.3 for Identity Management states:
All users (internal, external and temporary) and their activity on IT systems (business application, system operation, development and maintenance) should be uniquely identifiable. User access rights to systems and data should be in line with defined and documented business needs and job requirements. User access rights are requested by user management, approved by system owner and implemented by the security-responsible person. User identities and access rights are maintained in a central repository. Cost-effective technical and procedural measures are deployed and kept current to establish user identification, implement authentication and enforce access rights.
It all sounds reasonable. We should be able to discern our users and their activities, and they should have a demonstrable need to access data based upon their position in the company. A visit to a single location should provide us with information concerning their identity and authority. That sounds easy, but in practice it is not. Especially when you have a large user community spread over multiple systems.
It Was Like This When I Got Here
Most of us inherited our users. We didn’t have any involvement in their profile creation or granting of authorities. Many existing profiles are copies of legacy profiles created when removing a command line from a green screen menu afforded reasonable protection, even from an *ALLOBJ user.
Many users have changed departments and roles over the years, and there is no continuity as to how authority was granted or who has what. Creating new profiles and changing existing profiles to have appropriate authorities is a daunting task. Nevertheless, it must be done in order to become compliant and pass your audits.
With PowerTech PowerAdmin, the onboarding, deletion, and management of any IBM i profile can be facilitated from a single point of control, eliminating the need for an administrator to sign on to each server. With PowerAdmin’s reports and templates, user profile settings match the needs of the user’s department and position, helping you comply with stringent regulations mandated by PCI, Sarbanes-Oxley, and other regulatory initiatives.
How Does it Work?
Depending upon your needs and long-term goals, Power Admin can provide multi-layered Centralized User Profile Management.
- Associate People with Profiles. Once you associate a person with a profile, Power Admin manages the profile automatically.
- Define your Departments and Positions. Base departments and positions on the structure of your company. Each position (clerk, sales rep, CSR, etc.) is assigned to a department and then associated with a template that dictates what the appropriate profile settings and authorities shall be. Templates ensure consistency is maintained across all profiles for the same position.
- Streamline Onboarding. Once departments, positions, and templates have been defined, onboarding is seamless. From a single screen, Power Admin automatically facilitates the creation of user profiles across all managed systems, based upon your template criteria.
- Managing Existing Profiles. Incorporate existing profiles into Power Admin for automated management. Once a profile has been associated with a department/position template, PowerAdmin can change the profile to match the template, ensuring consistency and appropriateness of authority. Should your needs change, simply change the template and Power Admin distributes the update to all corresponding user profiles across all systems.
- Centralized Reporting. Power Admin provides comprehensive documentation of user profiles, history, and settings.